“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain
My name is Jay Ferguson and I am one of the owners of the real estate division of Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. I am entering my 21st year in the real estate business here in Garrett County and at Deep Creek Lake. If you are interested, you can click here find out more about me personally and my background.
I will be writing a monthly blog post about our local real estate market, sharing & interpreting statistics and offering some insights into the market as a whole…as I see it. These are my personal thoughts and musings about the market in general and are not intended as anything more specific. And, to be clear, I am an optimistic, glass half-full kind of guy.
Lastly, every stat I reference is based on the official stats published by Bright MLS on or around the 15th of each month. My plan is to give you straightforward stats coupled with my analysis from the front lines and let you interpret what you read in your own way. Contact me for a candid conversation about the real estate market and how it may apply to your situation.
Still skiing in the last week of March
Greetings from the thawed-out paradise that is Deep Creek Lake! Spring is in the air. The grass is getting a little greener, birds are chirping, windows are cracking open most days though it’s still pretty cold at night. No more ice on the lake and there are a few renegades who have docks in the water already. Perhaps the most impressive thing this year is that we are still skiing at Wisp! They had a banner winter with more snowfall, it seems, than the last few years combined. They also continued to pump out artificial snow well into March as temperatures would allow. Taylor-Made sponsored a company snow-tubing trip last Friday night at Wisp and it was spectacular! 40 degrees or so, and incredibly fast conditions. A great segue into the fast-paced real estate market.
Homes selling quickly, prices are still rising
As you will see below, homes are selling FAST. It wasn’t so many years ago that I would inform clients that our typical market time is 9-12 months. It’s a seasonal market, so there are typically wider swaths of time involved. Not so anymore. With lower inventory, buyers are fighting over new listings and driving up prices. We are at 28% higher median prices than last year. Homes are still coming on the market every day and often going under contract days later. If you look closely, you can see some signs of sobriety setting in with buyers who are allowing unreasonably high priced homes to sit on the market. We’ll see how the market adjusts moving forward. Now on to the stats:
• There were 57 new listings in February 2021. Up from last month (12%). That’s also higher (24%) than last February.
• Pending sales (homes that went under contract) were down 7% when compared to last month. Up 50% from last year.
• Closed sales (homes that actually sold) were down 5% when compared to last month and down 54% from last year.
• The total number of active listings dropped each and every month through 2020 and thus far into 2021. We ended February with 80 active listings for sale. The five year average for this month is 262 homes for sale.
• The average sold to original listing price (OLP) ratio was 99%, this is up 3% from last month and up nearly 12% from last year. It’s worth noting, this number cannot go much higher ?
• The median sold price was up 12% last month and up 28% from last year.
• The average days on market (DOM) dropped to 63 DOM versus 91 last month. This is down from 134 last year.
Candid Advice on the Market Conditions
It’s still a crazy time to buy right now. There are many buyers sitting on the sidelines right now, just waiting for the right property to pop up on their radar. More and more buyers are peeking in at Deep Creek, as well. I have spoken to buyers from Texas, Montana and Canada in the last few weeks, all hearing about Deep Creek from a friend and wanting to learn more. In my opinion, some aggressive buyers are driving up prices beyond the realm of reasonable. Regardless of what future values may be, it’s become somewhat of a game to ‘win’ the bidding at all costs, and I think that’s reckless. I am seeing some eyebrow-popping prices that are hard to fathom, even in this uncharted pandemic market we have witnessed. There has been some ‘watercooler talk’ for months now about high prices have risen and what comes next. It’s a free market and some people who want to live here full-time are willing to spend more, but some people will regret spending foolishly if they need to sell and the market is down.
Buying a lifestyle change
To be fair, a different perspective may be that this is the ‘new norm’. After all, buying a lifestyle change is now possible due to technology, as well as a shift in societal norms in working remotely. It would only take a few hundred buyers moving into our area permanently to tip the scales in a market like ours that has traditionally been primarily second homes. This is not unique to Deep Creek – this is a trend in virtually every vacation market in the country right now and it remains to be seen how this all shakes out. These overly aggressive buyers may win in the end in the sense they bought ‘while you could still find something’. So far, homes are appraising and there remains strong demand even at higher prices. And we are now entering the strongest part of our selling season – spring & summer. Sellers remain in control and as long as buyers are lining up to bid, they can and will continue pushing their prices higher.
Deep Creek Lake open for business
Maryland is proudly a state that has opened to 100% capacity for restaurants and businesses. The mask mandates remain in effect, but opening back up in full will be huge shot in the arm for the local economy. We happily welcome you to our special little slice of heaven in the mountains!
Questions about the market or a specific situation? Whether you are buying or selling, I can put my experience to work for you! Contact me anytime for a free market analysis of any property you may be interested in purchasing or selling!
301-501-0420 – cell